cover image Death of a Traitor

Death of a Traitor

M.C. Beaton, with R.W. Green. Grand Central, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4676-9

In the meandering 36th Hamish Macbeth mystery (after 2022’s Death of a Green-Eyed Monster), the second collaboration between Beaton (1936–2019) and Green, Hamish, a police sergeant stationed in the village of Lockdubh but whose “beat covers a vast swathe of rural Sutherland in the far north of Scotland,” investigates when Kate Hibbert, a relative newcomer to the village, goes missing. Hamish soon discovers that Kate was not the friendly, helpful neighbor she had pretended to be. Three weeks after the woman’s disappearance, Hamish is the first policeman on the scene when her strangled body is found floating in a remote loch. Hamish spots her battered suitcase and pulls it from the water; its contents point to a range of possible suspects in her murder. Pompous, officious Detective Chief Inspector Blair, “an evil scunner” and “a bungling eejit,” as well as Hamish’s nemesis, provides an obstacle for Hamish to bump up against. The plot swerves wildly from village foibles and secrets into the world of international espionage as it marches doggedly toward its finale. This one’s for established fans only. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Assoc. (Feb.)